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Residents of Chatsworth, Simi Valley angry about slow pace of Santa Susana Field Lab radioactive clean-up

There’s renewed anger in Chatsworth, Simi Valley, over Santa Susana Field Lab clean-up  By SARAH FAVOT |September 2, 2018   Frustrated with the pace of cleanup of a former rocket engine test site on the border of San Fernando and Simi valleys, area residents have stepped up their call for the safe disposal of hazardous and radioactive materials.

Criticism of the massive, long-planned clean-up is not new. But tension re-emerged Thursday night, as the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) held a public hearing at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills. DTSC officials, who are overseeing the cleanup, wanted to hear comments about the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposed plans to decontaminate and demolish the former Hazardous Waste Management Facility and Radioactive Materials Handling Facility at the site of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.

Nestled between Simi Valley and Chatsworth, the land was developed in the 1940s to test rocket engines and conduct nuclear research. Boeing now owns most of the site, which has been the focus of residents’ ire over stalled clean-up and the management of those clean-up.

“This is a crime against humanity,” said Melissa Bumstead, who led a protest before the hearing, referring to what she said has been the mishandling of the clean-up of radioactive materials at the site.

Bumstead believes that her daughter’s cancer was caused by the release of radiation from the site. She said during hospital visits she met other parents who live within a few miles of the site whose children also had cancer. Some others who spoke at the meeting said they have cancer or have fought cancer.

In 1989, the Department of Energy released a report admitting that a partial meltdown of a sodium reactor had occurred in 1959 in Area IV of the land, where the two facilities set to be closed are located.

The Radioactive Materials Handling Facility, one of the buildings set for closure and demolition, was used to treat and store radioactive and mixed waste. Mixed waste has both chemical and radiological constituents. Radioactive waste included uranium and plutonium. The facility’s permit expired in 2003.

The Hazardous Waste Management Facility was used for storage and treatment of non-radiological alkaline metal wastes. The building ceased operation in 1997……….

Some of the residents who gave public comments Thursday night have attended many other DTSC meetings. Many echoed sentiments of frustration and mistrust with the agency. Some held up yellow signs during the meeting that read “DTSC lied, Our kids died” and “Broken Promises.”

“It’s the same old stuff,” Dorri Raskin, of Northridge, said. “It’s very frustrating. It’s disappointing with the lies.”

Another public hearing on the plan will be held Sept. 8 at the Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley at 10:30 a.m.

Public comment on the plans has been extended to Oct. 12. Comments can be emailed or sent to Laura Rainey, DTSC senior engineering and project manager, 5796 Corporate Ave., Cypress, CA 90630,

Correspondent Marianne Love contributed to this report.


September 10, 2018 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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